Bergen Travel Guide
Known as the Gateway to the Fjords, Norway's second city, Bergen, is also one of its most attractive.
Nestling amid seven imposing mountains and perched on a squeaky clean bay, the former trading port is a riot of rainbow-painted houses that cling precariously from the flanks of the mountains and straggle all the way down to the waterfront.
Water, both of the sea and rain varieties, is something that Bergen is all too familiar with. One major upside of the many deluges is some of the greenest countryside in Norway, plus it has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to indoor activities, not least in the city’s many art galleries and museums.
When the sun does shine, the old parts of town, in particular the Hanseatic wharf of Bryggen, come into their own. A striking series of brightly coloured wooden buildings set back from the harbour, more than 60 of the original homes in the old harbour have been preserved and are now shops, studios and restaurants, making it a pretty and vibrant area to explore.
Other key attractions include the lively Fish Market, Rasmus Meyer’s art collection, the Aquarium and Old Bergen. A funicular ride and cable car ride also mean you can set off to the peaks of two of Bergen’s mountains for panoramic views over the city – all without having to break a sweat.
Of course, if you want to get hot and bothered, there’s no shortage of choice for the sporty. Winter brings the chance to go skiing and sledging, while the mountains, lakes and fjords provide a scenic backdrop for hiking, glacier walking, biking, fishing, rafting and swimming.
The warmer months are also a good time to take advantage of the fjords themselves, many of which are in close proximity to Bergen. Among the best are Sognefjord, the largest of its kind in the country, and Hardangerfjord which is renowned for its blossoming fruit trees in spring.